Disclaimer: my family and I were invited along to attend a press review of this performance. Thoughts and words are my own.
Aaaah the good old Polka Theatre. I think I can safely say that my kids have been lucky enough to “grow up with” The Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, London. They are now 9yrs and almost 11yrs and I have been taking them to the Polka Theatre since they were toddlers (I remember a fantastic Opera for kids performance in their “little theatre”, as well as a brilliant Charlotte’s Web.. oh and Babe.. and … and … and…). Not only are the performances innovative, engaging and fun, but the theatre is a place that genuinely welcomes children. With a large play area room and a small playground “out the back”. As well as a cafe attached to it. Many a happy hour has been spent at this fantastic venue.
But I digress. As today is all about The Wind in the Willows.
For some reason The Wind in the Willows is a book that we own, but haven’t actually read. I am not quite sure why.. maybe there are just SO many wonderful children’s books out there, you simply can’t keep up. So my children came to watch this performance without really knowing the characters and the story line. Not a problem. You do not need to be family with this children’s classic in order to enjoy the play. In fact.. going to see this performance by the Polka theatre is a great way to introduce kids to the story. My husband even commented on how, when he read the book as a boy, he had in fact mis understood a number of things. And now, watching the play, it suddenly “all became clear”!
The story is simple. There are four friends – Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. They live by the River Bank. Well, three of them do. Badger, lives in the Wild Woods. In the old days, the creatures of the Wild Wood and the River Bank all got along. But in recent years, something is amiss. The wind in the willows blows menacingly and there the animals no longer get along. There are animals who can talk. And animals that can’t. And then there is Toad….. and Toad wants to be everything BUT an animal. He prides himself in his human characteristics… but things don’t bode well.
We join the animals on their adventures and journey to put things right.. will they be able to do it?
As always, the Polka Theatre created a most delightful play. The costumes are innovative. The characters fun (who can’t help but love Toad, even with all his faults?!). There is some fun interaction with the audience – to make the kids really feel part of the play and the story line is easy to follow. We loved the swallow puppets and the beautiful songs. We chuckled. We laughed and we got surprised! Perfect theatre going experience for all.
And the remaining weekend.. there were small rendition of “Company? Pah!” (Badger) from both The Englishman and the kids.
In a world where the kids are bombarded with screen time, computer games and adventures at the cinema, it is good to bring back to the traditional art of theatre. And to be able to show to them, that theatre is just as fun, entertaining and captivating as their modern day world distrations.
Many thanks to the Polka Theatre for putting on such a fantastic show and inviting us along!! We thouroughly enjoyed it!
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